What's so bad about FAT? More importantly, why do we care if people refer to us in this way? Why do we give those three letters so much power? Why does it matter?
I have been called a bitch (yes, it’s true). I could care less. It doesn’t matter to me. However, throw the word FAT in there, and my world could be over. I immediately go down the shame spiral. I want to crawl under a rock and hide from embarrassment. In my life I have carefully crafted scenarios where I couldn't be called FAT. In other words, I would hide. In some ways I'm still hiding, especially when it comes to my business. I'm still afraid. So, today I am asking myself some very important questions.
Why am I afraid of FAT?
Why am I giving this little word so much power?
What am I making it mean?
Why am I still hiding?
Imagine being in elementary school and being called Miss Piggy. She is a gorgeous puppet, but you and I both know that’s not why the other kids called me that. I loved the Muppet's, and I loved Miss Piggy. I had a pink winter hat with a Miss Piggy patch on it. I remember standing in line one day, waiting for the school bus. A little boy told me I was FAT just like Miss Piggy. I don’t think I ever wore that hat again. I was 9 or 10. This is one of my earliest memories of being FAT shamed. This is when FAT became a bad thing in my world. This is when I started to give my power away to people who didn’t deserve it.
These are the names I remember the most.
At a very young age I started to believe that there must be something wrong with my body. I started to feel shame about the way that I looked. I remember thinking that maybe I could get them to stop calling me names if I lost a few pounds. That never worked.
The names continued into my early adult years. I recall one particular incident when I was working at the food court of a local mall. The mall was closing, and so was our store. I was making smoothies. People were lined up to get a treat as they headed home. We had to stop serving so we could close up shop. I cut off the line, and a very angry man told me I was a "FAT bitch". No smoothie for you!
Another time I was in Las Vegas, driving around in a fabulous Mustang Convertible with my husband, Garret. We thought we were cool until a man begging for money yelled “FAT bitch”, because I ignored him. I made Garret put the top up. I instantly went into a shame spiral. I wanted to hide from the world.
In all of these cases, the solution was always to lose weight. I wasn't doing it for me. I was doing it so people wouldn't see me this way, so they would stop calling me names, so they would stop judging my body. Every single time I was giving my power away and putting it in the hands of ignorance. Is that really how this should work? Is that what we want to teach our daughters? Absolutely not.
Over the years I have tried to lose weight so that I would finally be accepted by the ones who call me FAT. Here's the kicker, no matter what I do I will never be acceptable in their eyes. I have finally realized that I don’t want to be. I don't need to be. These people will always see a flaw, because they are damaged within. It is their reflection that they see. When people have an opinion about the way I look, good or bad, it's not about me. It's about them. Everything we see in someone else is reflecting how we feel about ourselves. It’s not my job to fix the broken ones. That’s an inside job.
Allow me to share an example:
When I hated my body, I refused to wear a swimsuit in public. Doing so would leave the door wide open to be called all kinds of FAT names. I used to look at other women and judge. I would wonder things like “do I look like that”, or “how can she go in public like that”, or “I hope I never get that big”. I hated MY body, and myself, so much that I saw flaws in other people. That was the reflection staring back at me.
I’ll never forget the moment this shifted. It was 2 years ago. I was already on my journey, learning to love my body. We were at a water park with the kids. I wore my swimsuit. I didn’t cover it up. I didn’t try to hide. I grabbed a seat in the front row at the wave pool. I laid in the sun and enjoyed the day. I remember seeing other women and thinking “I love her swimsuit”, “she looks gorgeous”, “she looks so happy”, “she’s having fun”, “she’s shining”. The reflection changed. I saw everything, including myself, in a new light.
Do you see how that works? Fix the way you feel inside, and your whole world changes.
Truly confident people don't tear others down. It's just the opposite.
I’m not here to look a certain way for anyone.
I’m not here to make others feel comfortable.
I'm not here to be a target.
None of this my responsibility.
It doesn’t matter what people say about me, but it does speak volumes about them.
The words still sting, but I’ll get back up. I always have. I always will.
I’ll dust myself off and keep going.
In the end, we have a choice.
We can let the negativity (even potential negativity) and ignorance keep us in hiding, or we can step out and share our gifts with the world.
I have a choice to make now, in my business. I know the work that I do as a life coach is life changing. I get to witness the powerful shifts, the clarity, and the freedom that comes from untangling the cob webs of crap. I know there is a ripple effect. The transformation is not only for my clients, but for all the people they will come in contact with. The same is happening with me on my personal journey.
Am I going to let the fear of FAT have power over that? Am I going to let my weight today stop me from spreading the message and sharing the stories? Am I going to let my weight keep all this goodness behind a curtain?
I may not have all the answers yet, but that’s okay. I’m getting there.
I do think it's time to own it. I think it's time to stand in my power, and in my FAT, and step out on stage. I think it’s time to create some big waves.
Are you with me?
I'm FAT. So what?